Organic meat is meat which is derived from livestock that are neither given hormones nor antibiotics. Is organic and natural meat the same? The answer is no. In order to obtain organic status, there are strict guidelines that must be adhered to. Let’s review what they are.

When an owner of a cattle ranch decides to go organic, the process involves several components which take three years to accomplish. The land must first build up its fertility. This is known as the conversion stage. Once it has been deemed fully organic, then additional guidelines are set in place to assure the livestock are properly raised.

The feed or grass that is grown must be 100% certified organic. No pesticides or fertilizers can be used. In fact, even the fence posts have to be untreated in order to meet the guidelines imposed. The feed must be free of animal by-products. The livestock must be able to roam freely, as their wellbeing is a priority.

Machinery used on the farm must be cleaned regularly. Livestock are checked to ensure they are healthy, and if any of the livestock develop a condition which requires intervention in the form of antibiotics, the organic status is lost.

Organic status begins from inspection of the farm and animals to the processing and distribution of the organic meat. Unless the meat sold in supermarkets has the USDA Organic label affixed to the package, it is not considered organic.

Organic meat can cost more than conventional meats. This is mainly due to labor intensive management of the farms. Farms are inspected yearly to ensure they are keeping within the organic status guidelines.

If you compare organic meat to traditional meat, you can see a remarkable difference between the two. For example:

* Use of hormones are prohibited in organic meat, but are allowed in regular meat.
* Feed grown with fertilizers and pesticides is used in conventional farming – not so with organic meat.
* On conventional farms, cattle cannot graze in pastures and are confined, whereas in organic farming they have complete access to the land and are not confined.
* Traditional farms feed animal by-products to cattle; organic farms do not.

These are just some of the major differences between organic and non-organic meats. It is no wonder that more consumers are opting for organic meat since the practice used to obtain organic status is of the highest caliber.

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